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Online dating sites offer to find your genetic match

16 November 2009
Appeared in BioNews 534

Businessman Eric Holzle has launched ScientificMatch.com, one of the first dating sites to offer genetic testing to help match up couples. Holzle claims that by seeking genetic compatibility you are likely to have a better sex life, increased fidelity, and that the benefits may even extend to your children.

Those who sign up to ScientificMatch.com receive a postal package containing a skin cells-swab kit. When the swab is returned the participant is then asked to upload a profile and photos to the website, take a 'personal values test' and consent to a background check. A match is made taking into account all of the compiled information. The premise behind this new idea is that a set of genes involved in recognising foreign viruses in the body, known as Histocompatibility Leukocyte Antigens (HLA) genes, also help to determine a person's body odour 'fingerprint', and that people are more likely to be attracted to someone with a body odour, and therefore HLA type, which is different from their own.

Claus Wedekind, a Swiss biologist, has conducted research with a group of women not taking the contraceptive pill and claims that they were attracted to men with HLA types most different to their own.

However, other experts have expressed concern over the validity of such studies. Dr. Rocio Moran, the medical director of the General Genetics Clinic at the Cleveland Clinic, said that being attracted to someone is far more complicated than a genetic calculation. Dr Moran also accused the companies of 'just trying to make a buck'.

Patrick Markey, associate professor of psychology at Villanova further emphasised the hundreds of experiments conducted that show how important both physical and psychological attraction is. A Swiss company called GenePartner charges $99 for this test and is due to launch in partnership with another website called sense2love.com next month.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Genetic love matches go cheek swab to cheek swab
The Seattle Times - Nation & World |  12 November 2009
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